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The Nitrogen Cycle In The Aquarium And The Pond

All living creatures in the aquarium and the pond have an effect on the chemical cleanliness of the water. The more polluting factors we will have, the more we would like to have an efficient biological system which will be able to cleanse the water from pollution.

Topics in this article:
    - Selecting the habitat for the bacteria colonies
- Biological processes in the aquarium and the pond
- Water quality test kits
- How to cleanse the water of the nitrate remains?
- The nitrogen cycle in nature


Selecting The Habitat For The Bacteria Colonies

Before we activate the aquarium, we must make sure that we have a satisfactory amount of proprietary materials in the filter (made mostly of plastic) for bacteria growing. The principle of such material is simple: increasing the surface area to volume ratio. The bacteria we are interested in growing is surface-dependent. Thus, the more “surface area” we provide them, the more area they have to grow on. Nowadays, we have wide selection of materials to choose from in order to achieve this goal. These materials differ in quality, and price.

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Tuff Ceramics Bio Balls

The first activation of the aquarium signals a “green light” to a wide range of processes. In order to preserve system integrity, we must follow a few rules . Mostly, we will need to have patience, and in case we don’t have the patience, we will need luck.


Tip
It is possible to accelerate the rate of the biological process advancement in the aquarium by adding bacteria additives to the aquarium waters. These additives contain a bacteria culture which houses billions of wanted bacteria, in addition to additives which accelerate the bacteria’s rate of development.

Biological Processes In The Aquarium And The Pond

After we have finished setting up the aquarium, we would like to add some fish. At this stage it is important to remember, that a small number of fish must be added first, in order to begin the growth of the positive bacteria in the aquarium. A compound named ammonia is excreted into the water by the fish.

The effect of the number of fish in the water on the amount of ammonia in the water will be seen in a few days. The desired bacteria “recognize” that the concentration of ammonia in the water is rising. the rise in the concentration of ammonia in the water accelerates the bacteria’s growth, due to the fact that the ammonia is the bacteria’s food.

tip
Tip
In a case when we would like to avoid adding fish to the aquarium before it is ready to receive them, we could add “distilled ammonia” straight to the aquarium water, in order to raise the concentration of the ammonia in the water. By doing so, we start the growth process of the positive bacteria. Using this method, we avoid adding fish which may be diseased.

Ammonia has a negative effect on the fish and water flora and their surroundings. Ammonia has two forms in which it can appear in aquariums and ponds:

  • If the PH level is lower than 7 – the substance is called ammonium, has the chemical marking of NH4. This substance is less toxic to the inhibitors of the aquarium/pond.
  • If the PH level is higher than 7 –the substance is called ammonia, has the chemical marking of NH3. This substance is very toxic to the inhibitors of the aquarium/pond.

Using these bacteria, that exploit the ammonia in order to develop, we get rid of the ammonia in the water. But, we are not finished yet, since these bacteria change the form of the ammonia to a substance called “nitrite”. The raise in the concentration of the nitrate will be noticed a week after the fish have been added to the water.

Similarly to the ammonia, nitrite is also toxic to the aquarium and pond inhibitors. Less toxic then ammonia, but must be gotten rid of as well.

Like you may have guessed already, there are bacteria that harness the nitrate for the purpose of growth.

However, even now, our work is not yet completed. The bacteria witch knows how to exploit the nitrite, changes the substance to “nitrate”. Nitrate is a substance which is much less toxic for the fish. We would Love to get rid of it as well, it’s just that…there are no bacteria (aerobic – which will perform the process In combination with oxygen ) that can use this substance.

Water Quality Test Kits

In order to measure the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate concentration in the aquarium, we must use a chemical test kit.

The test kit (each substance is measured separately) contains a material that is used as an indicator for the tested material. Together with the indicator, comes a test tube, and a legend. The test tube must be filled up to the marked height. Afterwards, a number of drops must be dripped (according to the user instructions) . After a few minutes, the water will change their color. Every color in the legend gives an estimated indication to the amount of the tested substance in the water.

Such water tests are given free of charge to all of the costumers of Discus Ha- Galil.

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Water tests kit

How to cleanse the water of the nitrate remains?

In order to get rid of the nitrate remains, the water must be refreshed once in a week to two. The amount of water that must be replaced is effected by the aquarium density, number of feedings, type of food, and type of aquarium (flora aquarium, cichlids aquarium, etc ) . During the water refresh, It is recommended to use anti- chlorine.

The nitrogen cycle in nature

Question: if in an aquarium, or a pond, there are no bacteria that know how to harness the nitrate, how do the living creatures survive in nature? There is no one who changes the water for them …

Answer: In nature, the plants are responsible for cleansing the water from the nitrate. The plants absorb the material and use it as food.


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